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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

NYSERNet Announces New Board Chairs

John E. Kolb


Contact: Media Relations

June 25, 2014

NYSERNet Announces New Board Chairs

Syracuse, N.Y. – NYSERNet, a private not-for-profit corporation created to foster science and education in New York State, announced at its recent Board meeting that John E. Kolb, Vice President and CIO at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), has been selected as the Board Chair of the parent company NYSERNet.Net, succeeding Dr. Francis Lees of the American Museum of Natural History.

William Thirsk, Vice President and CIO at Marist College, has been selected as the new Board Chair of the subsidiary operating company, NYSERNet.Org. He succeeds Dr. Timothy Lance who has held that role, as well as serving as President of NYSERNet.Org, since 1998.

“Frank Lees is the last of the original Board Members who created NYSERNet in 1985,” Lance said. “John’s appointment comes on the occasion of Frank’s retirement after almost three decades of superb service to the NYSERNet community, and reflects John’s similar leadership for NYSERNet across the spectrum of what we do. In addition, Bill’s appointment, responding to new state legislation requiring that the roles of president and chair be separated, allows us to recognize in Bill the extraordinary leadership of another member of the NYSERNet Board. We are a community of trust who have done things together that we could not have done alone.”

“I am proud to continue the work of NYSERNet on behalf of more than 70 member institutions,” Kolb said. “By working together we are positively impacting virtually every segment of the state’s economy through a variety of services, from robust internet and data center services to research and education, advancing the mission of members and enabling a stronger sense of community. As part of this transition, we will all have the pleasure of continuing to work with Frank as an emeritus member of the Board, benefitting from his deep and long experience.”

“At NYSERNet, network peering has matured from advanced digital connectivity of research and education institutions to a vibrant community of trust that is mutually supportive of the missions’ of all member institutions, large and small,” Thirsk said. “Big scientific research can happen anywhere, and in fact, it is happening everywhere in the state. Providing governance for the private, not for profit, purpose built network for research and education has been a great source of satisfaction for me. I look forward to working with the board and I will continue to work to make sure NYSERNet, Inc. remains the gold standard for research and education networks in the nation.”

NYSERNet was founded in 1985 by a consortium of visionary public and private New York State institutions to provide high-speed network connectivity to advance research and educational initiatives in the Empire State. The organization’s mission is to advance network technology and related applications to satisfy needs common to the institutions comprising New York State's research and education community, providing a forum for exploration of the opportunities and challenges these innovations present.

“NYSERNet has delivered next-generation Internet services to New York State's research and education community for almost three decades,” Lees said. “The collective efforts of our member institutions led to the deployment of the nation's first statewide regional IP network, and resulting commercial spin-offs. It has been my pleasure and honor to have been witness to the emergence of this remarkable community – from its creation.”

Members of NYSERNet include New York State's leading universities, colleges, museums, healthcare facilities, primary and secondary schools, and research institutions. The NYSERNet Board of Directors is composed of CIO's and other senior personnel drawn from and representing New York's leading research universities and institutions.


Reeve Hamilton
Director of Media Relations and Communications

(518) 833-4277

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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.